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Sun Plans' Favorite Resources
After much deliberation, the following resources have surfaced as our favorites.
Every week there seem to be new, interesting websites that contain information that Sun Plans' clients and customers might find valuable, or at least thought-provoking. If you've been considering a green, low-energy, passive solar home for a while, you've probably already bookmarked quite a collection of your own favorites.
The good—and bad—news is the abundance of information! The contradictory ads and reviews can cause confusion. This is not only true for energy-related information, which has been around since the 1970's, but now the green layer is interwoven. We suggest web sites where other energy professionals have already sorted through much of the research for you. This helps save your time and energy!
We agree with their statement:
"Dedicated to providing the most useful, accurate and complete information about designing, building and
remodeling energy-efficient, sustainable, and healthy homes."
Some of our favorite energy professionals are their editors and advisors. Martin Holliday, the energy nerd, also wrote The Sun-Inspired House book review. is a non-profit educational site designed to help builders, architects, designers, and home buyers take meaningful steps towards radically reducing carbon emissions and energy bills by building Zero Net Energy Homes and Near Zero Energy Homes.
Their collection of articles under Homeowner Resources is a good place for those readers who love details about energy and moisture as they relate to building design and construction.
Because home performance professionals work alongside builders to oversee energy features and test the house for energy compliance, we have great respect for their attention to detail.
With 17% of the new homes built in 2009 achieving Energy Star ratings, it really doesn't make sense not to build to Energy Star standards. They require a home to achieve an energy performance of at least 15% above energy codes which are minimum standards and requirements. Even if the official Energy Star rating is not achieved (the sticker that shows on the electrical panel), it still is very practical to follow the guidelines and oversight of an Energy Star professional (HERS Rater or BPI Analysts) home energy rater.   Most reports show that their fees are less than $1,000.
If you still feel a bit confused or overwhelmed by one or more aspects related to passive solar, please contact us to assist you through one of our numerous Consulting Services. Although it is widely thought that architects primarily draw, one of our primary tasks is to research and assist home owners with the elements important to them in designing and constructing their own sun-inspired home.
Construction Websites & Magazines
Because Sun Plans has worked closely with builders, we have a strong admiration for their practical knowledge, and ability to suggest different ways of achieving energy goals. Articles in these journals routinely weave energy and green information into the numerous construction technologies as they explore the pros and cons of materials and methods. These two have both a print and online presence worth reading.
And Sun Plans' favorite for those considering adding active solar energy (solar hot water or photovoltaic panels) to a passive solar home:
(For an extensive resource list for the U.S. and Canada, please
see the 10 pages in the appendix of The Sun-Inspired House.)
Solar Information
While there are many solar web sites, but the American Solar Energy Assiciation has a home tour in the fall.